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Metformin

Does metformin reduce obesity in children and adolescents?

Metformin therapy did not affect lean body mass in patients with overweight or obesity and growth problems; however, it reduced LBM in patients with chronic diseases

Metformin has been reported to be effective at lowering some measures of obesity in children and adolescents, according to the results of a systematic review and meta-analysis. The researchers searched the medical literature for randomised clinical trials that examined the effects of metformin - a glucose-lowering drug commonly used to treat diabetes - use on obesity measures in children and adolescents.

The paper, ‘Metformin Therapy Reduces Obesity Indices in Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials’, published in Childhood Obesity, was co-authored by Dr Alireza Milajerdi, Tehran University of Medical Sciences (Iran) and colleagues from Tehran University of Medical Sciences and University of Utah (Salt Lake City).

In total, they examined 38 studies (including 2,199 participants - 39.75% male and 60.25% female). The pooled results indicated that metformin significantly reduced BMI, waist circumference. Metformin also reduced body weight in all participants and reduced the body fat mass in patients with overweight or obesity and chronic diseases but not among those with growth problems. Metformin therapy did not affect lean body mass in patients with overweight or obesity and growth problems; however, it reduced LBM in patients with chronic diseases.

“We found a significant reduction in BMI, body weight, WC, and fat mass following intake of metformin. However, no significant effect of metformin therapy on LBM was found in the current meta-analysis,” the authors concluded. “Further studies, in particular among participants with specific health conditions, are needed to confirm these findings.”

"Metformin, a pharmaceutical, has been a staple in the treatment of diabetes. Some have been interested in whether this pharmaceutical might also reduce body fat," said Childhood Obesity Editor-in-Chief, Dr Tom Baranowski, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX. "Alereza Sadeghi and colleagues found 38 articles that tested this relationship among children and adolescents. Their important findings need to be explored in additional research, especially why metformin did not affect adiposity in some groups. These findings could be an early step in establishing the clinical use of metformin for weight management in children."

To access this paper, please click here

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